Posted in nature, Oklahoma, Photography

Adding Beauty to Life

What can you do today to add more beauty to your life? 

That question was posed to me this morning while journaling. One of the ways I find beauty is through photographs. The photos below were taken early this foggy Autumn morning.

I love how the leaves burst with color. The fog provides an eerie glow in the background.

Fall Morning (2 of 1)
Photo Credit: Susan Spaulding

I am the first to admit that what I capture through the camera lens cannot compare with what I see with my eye. With a little editing using Adobe Lightroom, however, I can come close.

Fall Morning (3 of 1)
Photo Credit: Susan Spaulding

Autumn is my favorite time of year. Unfortunately, it doesn’t last nearly long enough and life gets to busy too really enjoy it. Now that it is November,  there won’t be many more days before the weather turns cold and the leaves turn brown and drop.

 

Fall Morning (1 of 1)
Photo Credit: Susan Spaulding

I hope you find a little beauty in your life today, no matter where you are.

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Posted in CFFC, Photography, Travel

CCFC – The Letter J

It’s Saturday morning and although I have a million things I need to do, I took some time to have a little fun with Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge. This week is Letter J. The rules are the photo subject must be least 6 letters long. The “J” can be anywhere in the word, and using an adjective to extend the length of the word is perfectly OK. I had lots of ideas but couldn’t find time to photograph so I had to settle for some vacation photos. There is always next week.

Many thanks to Cee’s Photography for providing the opportunity to play around with photography in a creative way.  If you are interested in joining Cee’s Letter Challenge, check out this link Challenge

My first ‘J’ photo is Alligator Jaws. This was taken in Belize. 

Alligator Jaws

The next “J” is beautiful Jamaica. This was taken from the top steps of Rose Hall, the home of the famous ‘White Witch of Rose Hall’. 

Jamaica (1 of 1)

My last ‘J’ is Juneau, Alaska and the Mendenhall Glacier.

Glacier Juneau (1 of 1)

 

 

Posted in Miscellaneous

A Ducky Mystery

My Million Words

Ride the Duck Photo Credit: Al Forbes

Ride the Ducks? You must be kidding!

The amphibious vehicle known as a ‘Duck’ is popular in cheesy places like Branson Missouri, but I never imagined dignified London stooping so low to attract tourists. Yet here I am, sitting in the back row listening to the Captain tell corny jokes as he pointed out London’s favorite tourist spots.

My reason for riding a Duck have little to do with sightseeing. Two weeks ago, my sister Carol disappeared in London. After days of unreturned voice messages, I checked her credit card account and discovered the last purchase was the London Duck Tour. Carol is not a fan of organized tours, preferring to discovery unfamiliar places on her own terms. Concerned, I booked a flight, hoping to uncover clues. The tour through London told me nothing and I running out of ideas.

Suddenly, the Duck splashed into the…

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Posted in Just what I think, Oklahoma, Photography

Slowing Down

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Photo credit: Susan Spaulding.

I remember a family vacation when my children were young. We were traveling from Oklahoma to Colorado and about three miles down the road, a small  voice from the backseat asked, “Are we there yet?” At the young age of five, my son had already learned to focus on the end result. Patience was not his virtue

This is expected of children; they don’t have a good concept of time or how long things take. They lack experience, which is the building block of judgement. Over time they learn basic truths about time, such as the school year is too long and summer is too short;

We adults know better, except when it comes to change. We understand change takes time but we don’t have the patience to see it through. Our five year old self questions how long it will take. We tire of the questions, so we give up.

How we view time is part of the problem. In Western cultures, time is viewed chronologically as a straight line.  It reminds me of a Gantt chart:  we plot our lives from birth to death, with milestones in between.  Other cultures view time as Kairos; things happen at the right or opportune moment. Time is circular, which means no more missed opportunities. Life will present what we need, when we need it.

One of my mentors, James Clear, says that when we decide to change we should not focus on the end result but rather on the process itself. For example, most of us focus on the scale when we attempt to lose weight and can become very disappointed when the scale doesn’t move. Instead, our focus should be on doing the things that will lead to weight loss: tracking what we eat, tracking our exercise, checking in daily with ourselves or others. If we place our focus on what we need to do, we will eventually get the results we desire.

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Photo Credit: Susan Spaulding

The ancient concept of detachment is one I have been trying to embrace, especially in my writing. In the past, when others did not find what I wrote excellent or inspiring, I would get discouraged. Now, I release my writing and ideas into the world and do my best to let go of how and when they are received. I’m not perfect at this but I strive to be better.

 

 

At five years old, my son (and I am sure myself) were impatient for life’s next great adventure to arrive. At 60, I am more content to take life a little slower and let the adventure unfold on its own. Life will give me what I need, when I need it.

“There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit   

 

all photos are the property of Susan Spaulding and cannot be reproduced without permission.

 

 

 

Posted in CFFC, Oklahoma, Photography

Cee’s Foto Fun – The Letter E

This week is Letter E – Needs to have two E’s in the topic word (needle, elephant, geese, peek, jeep, eye, etc.).  For my photo subject, I chose  ‘Weeds’. A weed is any wild plant that grows in unwanted areas. We do have a lot of weeds in our yard but some like the ones below add a natural beauty. So maybe they aren’t really weeds after all.  

WRP2 (3 of 5)
© Susan Spaulding

I am not sure what the one above is; below is the dandelion weed. Every child’s favorite.

WRP2 (5 of 5)
© Susan Spaulding

The next one is the remains of Black Eye Susan’s. They bloomed in late summer but are starting to die now.

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© Susan Spaulding

This one is called White Prairie Aster

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© Susan Spaulding

This one is a type of foxtail.

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© Susan Spaulding

 

Posted in Miscellaneous

Writer’s Block

An early Halloween treat

My Million Words

rusty-gate‘The gate remained shut for hundreds of years. No one knew what was on the other side. No one dared find out.’

Rusty combed his brain for the next line but nothing came. He loathed 10th grade creative writing with its useless themes. Like this week – Fanciful Fiction. What rubbish! Bored, Rusty peered out his bedroom window and notice the iron gate leading to a vacant lot across the street. Strange I have never noticed it before, thought Rusty. Grabbing a jacket, he darted out for a closer look.

The uninviting gate stood between concrete walls; the words Keep Out painted in bold, red letters. Along the top, rusted spikes dared intruders to climb over. Rusty was leaving when he noticed the open lock. He pushed hard and met resistance, as if blocked on the other side. One last push created an opening wide enough for Rusty to…

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Posted in Miscellaneous

Old Crow

This is something I posted on my sister-site. I thought I would share with a different group. I hope you like it

My Million Words

Kika and his brother Hakan were walking through the woods in search of blueberries for Grandmother’s pie. Across the stream, Hakan noticed a bush ripe with berries.

“There are enough berries for two pies on that bush,” said Hakan, stepping into the stream.

In the tree above sat Old Crow, cawing “Danger, Danger.” Hearing the warning, Kika pleaded with his brother to return. “Do you not hear Old Crow?” he asked.

“That old bird is a trickster. He wants the berries for himself.”

Old Crow persisted with each step Hakan took, but the berries were too inviting for Hakan to return. When Hakan safely reached the other shore, he turned to Old Crow and laughed.

“Maybe I will leave a berry or two for your dinner.” He then filled his basket with the juicy berries.

By now Hakan was hungry and it would be hours before Grandmother baked the pie…

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Posted in Just what I think, Photography

Unanswered Question

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photo credit: Susan Spaulding

I wonder who I would be if I were not someone’s wife, mother, sister, friend, employee? Who am I, in the purest sense?

These were questions Eve asked herself one quiet morning as she sipped coffee from a mug with the words World’s Greatest Mom barely visible from the many cycles in the dishwasher.

She listened for an answer.

She heard the ticking clock on the mantel and the silent hum of the refrigerator.

With a heavy sigh, Eve went upstairs and woke her children up for school.

~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.

This story was also posted on my sister blog My Million Words.  

Here, I ask the questions philosophically… who are we when we remove the masks from the roles we play?

There, it is just a flash fiction.

Take your pick.